Admin tasks = cleaning kitty litter?

Jennifer HazenVery capable and competent creative professionals – working solo or with little outside help – tell me of their struggles. Some equate administrative work with changing kitty litter. It’s understandable.

While building a successful sole proprietor business, administrative tasks frequently fall down the priority list. But connecting those administrative dots are part of running a successful business. These tasks aren’t going away anytime soon – even in this digital age. So it’s important to develop good habits, a routine that can save you time (and money) – and to streamline your workflow.

For Bookkeeping & Bills:

  • Open your mail as it comes, determine what action is needed and toss the envelopes.
  • For receipts: identify every purchase on the day of. Consider carrying a small pen and jot down the purpose and type of expense right on the receipt. Year’s end is too late to remember!
  • Hire a bookkeeper and make bookkeeping a bi-weekly task.

For Databases:

  • Reduce task duplication like putting business cards into a cardholder, as well as in a software program. Don’t do both.

For Filing:

  • Make music your friend. File that stack of paperwork to the Black-Eyed Peas.
  • Apply the 10-minute rule: File for 10 minutes; Stop filing – even if the work is not done. Then come back in an hour. Start again.

For Invoicing:

  • Consider using Freshbooks, or any of the other time and billing software, whether cloud or computer based.

For Scheduling:

  • Automate and eliminate calendaring duplication. Use Tungle to book client appointments.

Creative Solutions to administrative tasks:

  • Buy a cork or metal bulletin board with pins or magnets to post pending bills and recent receipts – instead of stacking them on your desk.
  • Put a pencil case in your car for parking and gas receipts. Add a weekly reminder in your calendar to empty it.
  • Buy a supersized white board or chalkboard and note the top 3 things you must do today.
  • When filing, use a Sharpie instead of printing labels to save time.
  • Dedicate Friday afternoon after 2:00pm to do all things admin and bookkeeping related. Treat yourself to a special lunch before you start the work. Think how much further ahead you will be on Monday!

What top three creative solutions have you implemented lately to help you get your paperwork done?